The linked article above provides an in my opinion highly interesting historical note. It would be interesting to know how widespread the practice of giving high doses of aspirin for the flu was, during this epidemic.
The article notes the possible aspirin toxicity in flu deaths, and I've read that the doses of aspirin given were EXTREMELY high. The article also mentions that the drug industry of the time was touting aspirin for flu, and that doctors were desperate - so again, I wonder how widespread that kind of treatment was
Besides aspirin TOXICITY though, there's something else I think should be considered, and that's the use of fever suppressants (like aspirin) with viral illnesses altogether.
Viruses thrive in conditions of low body temperature, and are killed by fever, which is the body's first and natural response to them. Giving aspirin would have suppressed the flu related fever, and inadvertently given the virus the upper hand. I've seen the problem of suppressing fever in viral illnesses described very clearly in a German medical textbook from the 1920's. I think it's worth knowing for anyone, to know what they had to say.
The book described the course of childhood illnesses like chickenpox and measles that, in the best case, express visually dramatically, but otherwise harmlessly through the skin. This is what it looks like when the body fights off the infection in the optimal and natural way.
If it's NOT able to accomplish this - and the book cited fever suppression as a key reason - then the next place the body can try to fight off the infection and push out the "debris" of protein breakdown is the lungs. But measles or chicken pox expressing via the lungs is also a step more dangerous.
The next step beyond this, if the body's still unable to fight it off, is for the infection to manifest in the central nervous system, where it truly does become dangerous, with all the harmful effects we fear
Why does this matter ? Because when most Americans get even the LOWEST of fevers, they reach immediately for a fever suppressor. We use Tylenol for almost any kind of pain we experience - including, no doubt, the pain associated with flu. For doctors as well, it is absolutely routine to give Tylenol for any fever over 101.5 Fahrenheit, and I'm sure many suggest it for lower ones
My point is that very probably, a large portion of the complications we fear from viral illnesses, are caused by the way we treat them. As this article indicates, this kind of treatment of fever has been going on for over a hundred years. And if we count the "casualties" of infections for which we vaccinate, we should acknowledge that we may have done a lot of that TO OURSELVES
Although very high fevers can in fact cause harm, fever can almost always be treated by conservative, traditional and holistic means. Doctors and nurses used to know this, and do it. It's a shame that they basically DON'T do it anymore - and may not even know how.
I first wrote the above in response to a post by a leading pro-vaccine activist, that gave a dramatic portrayal of the carnage of the 1918 epidemic as reason to make vaccines more and more mandatory
As graphically as this portrayed the consequences of the epidemic, and as vehemently as it demanded the solution he sees, it had little to say about possible causes of that event - the perfect storm of
- a new virus people hadn't experienced before, and thus had no immunity to
- long term stress, catastrophic violence, economic hardship, poor nutrition and disrupted personal and public sanitation, endured by hundreds of millions of people during the wartime years
- large numbers of people in motion worldwide, offering optimal conditions for for an infection to spread
- social, economic and political thinking and policies on the part of the supposed leadership of society, that made such a war inevitable
It's right to reflect on the great epidemic of 1918, but not to use it as a prop to promote vaccines as the one and universal remedy for infectious illnesses - nor to make them mandatory. Medicine makes BIG mistakes, and has had to reverse itself regularly in the course of history. Less drama please, more humility, and more OPENNESS to the "minority report" science - which could actually save us from still greater mistakes !